I cycle in and out of mild depression regularly.
Sometimes it manifests itself simply as a lack of motivation. Everything I have to do–besides laying around and watching TV–seems insurmountable.
Other times, it shows up as a gray, BLAH feeling that colors the world. Nothing seems to matter. Everything feels purposeless or boring.
However it shows up, the way it lies to me is always the same.
Yet it’s so easy to believe its lies. Even when they’ve been disproven time and time again.
That’s the funny thing about the depression I experience.
I know when it rears its ugly head that I can always make it better … or worse.
It’s not that I can will away my feelings, changing myself into a sunshine-filled Pollyanna without any negative feelings.
But I do know what triggers a downward spiral in my life. Any one of these items will assuredly make depression worse:
- Spending too much time alone.
- Not exercising.
- Watching too much TV or Netflix.
- Thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking about why I feel the way I do.
- Yelling, “What is wrong with you?” inwardly because I can see how much I have to be grateful for in my life.
- Avoiding God (although, can you really avoid God, self?) by not praying, reading the Bible or going to church.
- Not reaching out to serve or help others.
- Eating junk food and other not-healthy items.
And yet, when I wake up with that deep sense of blah, ALL I WANT TO DO IS THE ABOVE THINGS.
The last thing I want to do is TRY. Because I honestly feel like I can’t try. It seems as if every good thing in me has dried up, and I am a hollow shell.
But I’m not. And with my depression, I have to lean in and tell myself the truth to turn the corner.
I have to tell myself that the lie of purposelessness and meaningless is always just that–a lie. If I choose to do every small and big thing as an act of service to God, my life will not be meaningless.
I have to tell myself that action will most likely lead to a better place emotionally and spiritually. Or, at the very least, it will stop the spiral.
With my depression, it’s definitely a choice to lean into health or pull back into depression.
It’s not this way for everyone. Medication must often be part of the solution. And triggers can be different for other people.
But in my life, the choice is always there. I have to move and act in healthy ways, even when the lie seems more true than the truth itself.
So here I am, leaning into health. I wanted to hide. I wanted to isolate myself from the world and do nothing but watch lots and lots of TV.
Instead, I showed up. I chose to write. I baked scones, and I visited my mom. I’m going to exercise later and spend some time praying for other people.
Not because I’m good or holy or perfect. But because I don’t want to believe the lie today.
May God help me every day to choose the truth again.